Founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher, Irving Price, Price’s illustrator-artist wife Margaret Evans Price, and Helen Schelle, the name Fisher-Price was established by combining two of the three names. Fisher worked previously in manufacturing, selling and advertising games for a company in Churchville, New York. Price had retired from a major variety chain store, and Helen Schelle previously operated Penny Walker Toy Shop in Binghamton, New York. Fisher-Price’s fundamental toy-making principles centered on intrinsic play value, ingenuity, strong construction, good value for the money, and action. Early toys were made of heavy steel parts and ponderosa pine, which resisted splintering and held up well to heavy use. The details and charm were added with colorful lithographic labels. Mrs. Price was the first Art Director and designed push-pull toys for the opening line, based on characters from her childrens
In 1931, the three founders took 16 of their wooden toys to the American International Toy Fair in New York City and they quickly became a success. The first Fisher-Price toy ever sold was “Dr. Doodle” in 1931. (The same toy, in excellent condition, would be worth a considerable amount in today’s collectibles market.) In the early 1950s, Fisher-Price identified plastic as a material that could help the company incorporate longer-lasting decorations and brighter colors into its toys. “Buzzy Bee” was the first Fisher-Price toy to make use of plastic. By the end of the 1950s, Fisher-Price manufactured 39 toys incorporating plastics.